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Collaboration No. 1 - Imperial Pilsner | Boulevard Brewing Co.

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Collaboration No. 1 - Imperial PilsnerCollaboration No. 1 - Imperial Pilsner
192 Ratings
Collaboration No. 1 - Imperial PilsnerCollaboration No. 1 - Imperial Pilsner

Brewed by:
Boulevard Brewing Co.
Missouri, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Pilsner

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
For this inaugural installment of collaboration brews, we invited distinguished Belgian brewer Jean-Marie Rock to join our own Steven Pauwels for a zymological alliance. The two conspired to revive a recipe from the very beginning of Rock’s career, the memory of which he has cherished for more than 30 years. A starkly simple recipe combined with a painstakingly complex brewing process produce an Imperial Pilsner of subtle elegance and delicately balanced contrasts. First wort hopping, a very old technique in which hops normally added late in the boil are put in at the beginning, and allowed to steep for a much longer time, gives the beer an especially refined hop aroma and flavor. The 100% Pilsner malt makes a clear, yet restrained statement, answered by a stead, harmonious chorus of Saaz hop bitterness, echoes of which linger in the dry, crisp finish.

29 IBU

Added by bort11 on 01-14-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 192 |  Reviews: 152
Photo of marchnlv
5/5  rDev +21.7%

Photo of Photekut
5/5  rDev +21.7%

Photo of mattkooler
5/5  rDev +21.7%

Photo of abp02
5/5  rDev +21.7%

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.89/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Beertracker for the Boulevard hook-up.

A - Golden and pale, translucent, and possessing an exceptional white frothy head replete with sticky lace.

S - The aroma is very full and rich; which is not to say that it smells like a 'big beer', but instead that the aromatics and nuances are sharply expressed, making for a superbly clarified dynamic. The hop is relatively assertive, and quite herbal and spicy for a lager; it adds a great deal of freshness to the character of the brew.

T - An uncommonly complex and delectably delicious lager. Exceptionally refreshing; a pristine spring water and mineral taste sits distinctly separate from the brew's malt, yeast and hop flavor elements. The malt flavors in this brew are so sublime, ranging from traditionally dry- pale and husky to tropical-fruity, sweet and berry-like. The yeast seems to have imparted more flavor than usual for a lager, but it is not in the banana-ish realm, instead reinforcing the nuances of exotic fruits. The hop contribution imparts a delicious leafy green spiciness that leaves an impression of herbal-floral organic freshness.

M - Very nice mouthfeel, velvety with a nice effervescence.

D - I could drink this every day. After a long hot day spent working under the Florida sun, I need a brew like this to revitalize me. And as I sit here eating my Dirty South dinner of chili and cornbread, I cannot imagine a brew making for a more sublime pairing.

Another example of why Boulevard is among the great breweries on earth.

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Photo of blakereik
4.83/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of my favorite beers. It is a shame that it is a limited availability product. I am on bottle 20, so if you are going to try some do it quick, before I and others who have discovered it's appeal polish of the supply.

A- Yellow, cloudy - like it should be
S- The yeast smell is there and it is very clean and pleasing to the nose
T- The epitome of Imperial Pilsner for me. Just enough yeast and wheat to be pleasing and none of the bitterness
M- I drink this so fast it is hard to get a feeling for it.
D- Oh yeah, the beer glass was invented - to host this concoction.

One word of caution a few of the bottles I have had were sealed with corks that were really, really tight. Talking corkscrew and a firm grip to pry it out without throwing the bottle to the floor. If your taking this out somewhere, make sure you have a corkscrew in your arsenal.

 862 characters

Photo of ccrida
4.74/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle (batch 2-2009, best by 9/10) poured into a goblet, Boulevard's Collaboration No. 1 - Imperial Pilsner is clear gold with a spritzy white head that quickly settles, leaving light, scattered lace.

Smell is a bit yeasty, with spicy, herbal noble hops, not overly strong, but some brightness.

Taste is fantastic, this is an excellent imperial pilsner, clean and pure, a nice hoppy snap without over-bearing. A hint of sweetness wafts through the background.

Mouthfeel is soft and dry, light bodied, fairly well carbonated, definitely in the Belgian style.

Drinkability is dangerously high. This is a killer pils, forget about the strength. With all the kitchen sink 'extreme' beer, this is what it's really all about - extremely well made! I'm really loving it, inspiring.

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Photo of brewdoc75
4.7/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Straw yellow and slightly cloudy. A strong, rocky head at first, dies to a little more than a lace. Strong carbonation. Looks tasty.

S: Hay and a hint of green grass and flowers. Smells "spring-like." The hops are mostly floral, spicy, but do add a faint citrus note. Mild grainy sweetness in the end w/ a hint of horsiness.

T: Lots of flavor for such a light colored beer. More of that haylike flavor mixed in with pleasant bitterness from the hops. The hops are noble and spicy. There is a slight grassiness in the bitterness. The malts add a nice grainy sweetness w/ a hint of candy. The alcohol is warming but not overpowering. In the end, I get some mild, brett-like character with some horsiness and a touch of hay or dank flavor. Very complex, yet not offputing. The complexity makes you want more and more.

M: Very dry. Light bodied and clean finishing. A little acidic w/ a touch of tartness. Very nice.

D: A really damn good beer. Definitely a must try. I really enjoyed this and hope I can find more. I'm sure it will cellar well and the complexity will come out. Go out and buy this now.

 1,135 characters

Photo of KarlHungus
4.6/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a cloudy yellow color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes slowly into solid lacing. This is a very nice looking beer. The aroma is very yeasty with mild, but noticable Bretta characteristics. Underneath the Bretta there is some citrus particularly lemon, and some pale malt. This is a very delicate aroma that I really enjoy. The taste is just as delicate. The Bretta is a lot less noticeable in the sip, but shows itself nicely in the aftertaste. There is more malt, and hops tones in the taste than in the aroma. The mouthfeel is medium full bodied with a high level of carbonation that works well. The texture is silky. Overall, this is one fine beer. In spite of the fact that this beer is of an "extreme" style it is truly well crafted.

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Photo of Groenebeor
4.55/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the large champagne bottle into a pint glass. 9 months out from the best served by date.

This beer doesn't look like our typical Pils. It's thicker looking, darker without that golden shine, and somewhat cloudy. It's most likely a different kind of yeast - Belgian origin perhaps? Looks a lot like Orval's Ale, which makes sense because the brewery this beer was collaborated on with is Orval. Pretty impressive!

It smells a lot like the ingredients, which makes sense. Very fruity smelling Pils malt, somewhat like lemon/lemongrass. Hops are ever-present.

The taste is much the same, but it seems the what I think are Belgian yeast make this into something more than a Pils. It has a lot in common with a Saison/ Blonde Ale in my opinion. If you are looking for a true Pils, try Boulevard's Pilsner. This is more like a mix between a Saison/Pilsner, and is only Imperial in ABV amount - not taste. It's not necessarily huge, just more complex than your average Pils. It's unique, tasty, drinkable, and filling. I would suggest if if you want something interesting, however, don't expect something like Boulevard's other Pils.

 1,143 characters

Photo of msubulldog25
4.55/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A 750ml caged/corked brown bottle - a much appreciated gift from a local bottle shop owner last summer. Maybe should have enjoyed it a little earlier (see batch below), but I'll take my chances, trusting the 'Imperial' nature of the recipe and the generally dark and cool cellaring. Poured toa pair of tall pilsner glasses and split with my wife over an incredible dinner of spiced soba noodles, shiitakes and seared hanger steak she (and I, the sous chef) whipped up.

A collaboration between Boulevard's Steven Pauwels and Orval's(!!!) Jean-Marie Rock. Batch Number: 2-2009; Best by Date: 9/10

A: Uncorks with a soft pop (good start) and pours a milky golden, haziness failing to obscure a bounty of boisterous bubbliness. Immaculate head, a thick 4-finger tower of snow-whiteness, standing firm then gradually dropping over 10 minutes to a dimpled veil (hmmm...Orval? great head? shocking!!!). Lace is flecks and pinpricks, vaguely clustering into pseudo-rings but vanishing in due time.

S: Malty nose, the requisite Saaz hops and huge Pilsner toastedness. Lemon spray and herbalness like verbena. In strength, the 'Imperialness' bursts from the glass ~ very impressive.

T: A dried hay/grassy maltiness, big and fruity, resplendent with spices. Biscuits meet with a subtle pear and a not-so-subtle apple (like dutch applesauce, even apple butter...). A yeastiness that's kind 'witbier-like', drying and pepper-dusted, lingering after each sip.

M: Not as thick nor as sticky as I'd expected. Crisp mouth and dry and clean(er) finish; in between, a refined carbonation on the creamier side. Fine grainy coating, but (again) still not what I call 'sticky' at all.

D: 8%? No seriously, EIGHT PERCENT? I do not believe you. Well maybe I do, a toasty and engaging warmth snuggles in on a brisk fall evening. A definite winner for the both of us, an exquisite pairing with our dish and A MUST for a repeat performance. By far the best I've tried of the style.

Thanks Arlene!

 1,977 characters

Photo of
4.53/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass. Bright golden, slightly murkey and has a huge head. There is some foam on top of the beer down to the last sip. This is generally what beer should look like.

Smells of hay, lemon zest and light grapes. The scent is accentuated by the huge amount of carbonation.

Hops come first in the taste - mostly lemon. There is also a slight spiciness. This subsides and gradually reveals golden apple and grape flavors. The spiciness remains distinct but in the background throughout. This is slightly champagne like. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel and drinkability were excellent. The high abv is very well hidden, and this is light in both taste and feel. I hope I can find another bottle, because one is not enough when you're sharing.

 757 characters

Photo of bort11
4.52/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml corked bottle, poured into a pilsner glass. Tight bubble formation in the head, which pushes just over two inches. This is one to pour in moderate pulls. Color is a bright straw yellow with a mild haze. Perfect amount of carbonation for a pilsner, which means tons.

Smell is a dry biscuit from the pilsner malt, with some green alfalfa from the Saaz hops. Taste has a lot more green grass character. Malts remain crisp and dry, with a interesting hint of vanilla.

Mouthfeel is crisp, but it definitely has body. It finishes with a mildly tart after taste. The finish is actually not as dry as what I was expecting. For an 8%, it is very clean and refreshing. This is no sissy lager by any means. Solid beer all the way through.

 736 characters

Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.52/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pilsner glass from a very fancy looking smokestack series bottle. With both brewmasters signatures.

A - Pours a slightly hazy pale golden straw almost Hefe like. With a dense and active 3 finger head. Looks delicious. Very sticky and patchy lacing as the head recedes.

S - Strong grainy up front with very delicious bready notes. Similar to some Belgian Pale Ales with some yeast character. Grassy and floral hop character at the end. Some nice sweet fruit notes as well.

T - Wow! I love the taste of this beer and the feel. Nice yeast character up front balanced well with some strong grain character. To me this beer is so similar to a Belgian PA. The malt is so strong all through the duration of the sip and is well balanced with a nice bitter finish that is clean but leaves a nice lingering taste and crispness.

M - Nice crisp notes mixed with a nice smooth feel. Very attractive. Overall perfect mouthfeel for me.

D - Very high except maybe for the high ABV.

 986 characters

Photo of theminutemen
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of GbVDave
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked and caged 750ml bottle into a Boulevard tulip. Thanks to Reaper16 for this from our recent trade!

Batch Number 1-2009
Best By Date 9/10

A: Pours a beautiful hazy pale gold with some light green tinting (!). The head is immediately about four fingers thick, very dense & creamy, and fed by some pretty active carbonation. Needless to say, retention is incredible and gobs of rocky lace was left clinging to the glass.

S: Ok. Grassy hops as well as mild citrus. Faintly toasty grain and snatches of fresh honey.

T: The taste follows the smell VERY closely. Fresh cut grass and citrus with toasted grain, honey, and a sliver of aspirin.

M: Completely lacking in the typical "thinness" that I've come to expect out of pilsners. Smooth, sticky, and dare I say, thick. Toasty malt in the finish. Peppery/prickly in the beginning, middle, and finish, but mixed in amongst that are some sweet honey, tangy citrus, and dry/toasty malt for balance.

D: I was a little underwhelmed by the style these guys chose to collaborate on. I should know by this stage in my life, you can't judge a book by its' cover! An absolutely world class pilsner. Not a trace of alcohol and incredibly refreshing!

 1,209 characters

Photo of cdwil
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of sjccmd
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours super clear golden yellow with a thick frothy white head that fades quickly initially but slows down as it recedes to about a centimeter. Lacing is pretty sticky for the style, gliding slowly down the glass. Carbonation continues to bubble up from the bottom throughout.

The aroma contains a surprising amount of citrus. Lemon zest and a hint of grapefruit rounded off with biscuity malts. Extremely effervescent. The aroma really explodes out of the glass.

The taste is in agreement with the aroma. Lemony citrus and slightly sweet malt flavor, kind of like honey. Very smooth and mild bitterness. Very distinctive Boulevard yeast profile. The recipe seems to be extremely simple, but the traditional process with the unique yeast produces something much more unique than most pilsners I've had.

The mouthfeel is super crisp, but not fizzy. Very refreshing and super dry with lingering citrus flavors. Coats the tongue but is not at all cloying.

Very drinkable and refreshing, the alcohol provides just a hint of warmth.

I initially was a little disappointed about the style choice for this collaboration, but this is such a refreshing and complex pilsner. It really seems like a perfect marriage of flavors between the two brewers.

 1,244 characters

Photo of brandoman63
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of elec
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of mattmarka1
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of Beerenauslese
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a hazy yellow gold with a modest head leaving some spotty lacing on the glass. Only had a sample, so could not tell how well the head persists.

Aromas of pilsener malts and citrus hops, very clean and fresh.

Tastes great for a pilsener, with an uncommon depth of flavor, including biscuity malt and a lemon citrus, peppery hop profile.

Body was a tad beefier than a typical pilsner, with snappy, refreshing carbonation.

This is the best Pilsener I have ever had, thanks to two great brewers. The little extra alcohol is not prominent in the taste. I could enjoy a few of these.

 592 characters

Photo of csfcmitchell
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of Grebdioz
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of Bighuge
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Muted cadmium yellow body with a stacked seashell white cap sitting on top. The strong and sustaining head drops lace all over as I drink. Malt aromas of bread, biscuit and cracker. Nice. Subtle floral hop aromas as well. Beer is smooth as it enters. Medium to medium-full body. A bready and doughy maltiness forms a solid base. Great malt flavor. Hops add some floral attributes and spiciness too. Nicely balanced pilsner that focuses more on the malt side of things. Alcohol is not perceptible, but merely blends into the context of the whole beer. This is a good one. I envision this working together perfectly with some Thai red snapper in tamarind sauce or even better with some duck in red coconut curry sauce.

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Collaboration No. 1 - Imperial Pilsner from Boulevard Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.11 out of 5 with 192 ratings
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